Extending the Transaction Account Guarantee program past its scheduled expiration on Dec. 31 seemed unlikely a few weeks ago, but the measure has a new champion in Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who has proposed extending the program for another two years.
Reid’s bill, S. 3637, would temporarily extend the TAG program, which provides unlimited Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. insurance on no-interest checking accounts used mainly by businesses. The senator introduced the stand-alone bill under Rule 14, which would allow it to bypass committee hearings and go straight to the Senate floor for a vote, indicating that it’s very likely to get approved.
Reid’s bill doesn’t mean passage is a slam dunk but does indicate it has strong support, Merski says. “Now it has the highest level of support in the United States Senate,” he says. “It has a very viable chance of passage in the last three weeks of the session.”
James Ballentine, chief lobbyist at the American Bankers Association, pictured at right, is a little more skeptical about passage. “It’s still up in the air,” he says. “The introduction of a bill doesn’t mean the passage of a bill. It’s certainly helpful to get someone in a leadership position to support this, but as we know from this Congress, that doesn’t necessarily guarantee anything.”